Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who is actively pondering a run for the GOP’s 2016 presidential nomination, took aim Thursday at Democrats’ likely nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton, saying she didn’t amass any victories while racking up ethics violations during her time as secretary of state.
“Mrs. Clinton, name an accomplishment. And in the meantime, please explain why we should accept that the millions and millions of dollars that have flowed into the Clinton Global Initiative from foreign governments doesn’t represent a conflict of interest,” Mrs. Fiorina said at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
The Clinton Foundation was on the defensive this week after disclosing that it had accepted millions of dollars from several foreign governments while Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state, including a $500,000 donation from Algeria to its Haiti earthquake relief fund in 2010.
Foundation officials acknowledged this week that they should have sought approval from the State Department’s ethics office for that donation.
The White House ducked questions Thursday about the donation Thursday, saying only that President Obama is “very pleased” with his former secretary of state’s service, and refusing to say whether he was disappointed with the Clinton Foundation.
“The president is obviously very pleased with the way Secretary Clinton represented the United States around the globe,” press secretary Josh Earnest said.
But he said it was up to the State Department and the Clinton Foundation to enforce the terms of the ethics agreement that Mrs. Clinton had negotiated with Mr. Obama’s presidential transition team in late 2008, before she was sworn in as Secretary of State.
Mrs. Clinton has not yet announced a decision about whether she will run for president, but she leads in all of the polls and appears headed for a near-coronation should she finalize her plans.
Mrs. Fiorina, though, said Mrs. Clinton will have to face tough questions if she does run.
“She tweets about women’s rights in this country and takes money from governments that deny women the most basic human rights,” Mrs. Fiorina said. “She tweets about equal pay for women but will not answer basic questions about her own offices’ pay standards — and neither will our president. Hillary may like hashtags. But she does not know what leadership means.”
The Clinton Foundation admitted the breach of ethics but downplayed its effects on the then-secretary of state.
“As the Clinton Foundation did with all donations it received for earthquake relief, the entire amount of Algeria’s contribution was distributed as aid in Haiti,” the foundation said in a statement. “This donation was disclosed publicly on our website, however, the State Department should have also been formally informed. This was a one-time, specific donation to help Haiti and Algeria had not donated to the Clinton Foundation before and has not since.”
At the time of the contribution, Algeria was accused of human-rights abuses and was lobbying the State Department heavily for relief.
In her remarks at CPAC, Mrs. Fiorina detailed her own biography, including attending Stanford University, later quitting law school and going to work full time at a real estate company she’d worked for part-time while in college.
“I know that it is only in this country that a young woman can go from secretary to CEO,” she said.
Mrs. Fiorina, who ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010 against Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, also spoke of relying on others during her battle with cancer and after losing her stepdaughter.
“Everyone needs a helping hand but no one wants to be trapped in the web of dependence that has been woven over decades in our nation,” she said. “To fulfill their potential, people need an education, tools, training, support — and they need a job.”